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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Celadon Ceramic Bottle Inlaid with Ten Creatures of Longevity Design


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One of the most favored designs for Korean art traditionally has been sipjangsaeng, 10 creatures that ancient Koreans, influenced by the Taoist philosophy, believed were created to enjoy eternal youth: sun, stone, water, cloud, pine tree, deer, bulnocho ('herb of eternal youth'), turtle, crane, and mountain. Inspired by the belief in a Taoist utopian world resided by Taoist elders who had found the secret of eternal life, ancient Koreans revealed their dreams of such a world through the 10 creatures. These symbols significantly impacted the lives and thoughts of the Korean people, from royalty down to common folks, and appeared in numerous objects and places including walls, paintings, poetry, proverbs, furniture, personal belongings and ornaments. In this ceramic bottle, the design of 10 creatures is exquisitely inlaid into the surface of the jade-blue body.

Korean celadon pottery is renowned the world over since Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) for its exquisite inlaid designs, voluminous form, elegantly-curved lines and mysterious color, the color of the sky after a rainstorm during an autumn afternoon.

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